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Simulation of Dropping of Cargo With Parachutes

Decelerator System Simulation (DSS) is a computer program for predicting and analyzing the dynamics of a load of cargo dropped with parachutes from an aircraft. A DSS simulation runs from the first motion in the aircraft until the payload reaches the ground. Intended for use in support of airdrop tests for the X- 38 program, DSS was developed by modifying and augmenting an older program, denoted UD233A, used for simulating the dynamics of a space-shuttle solid rocket booster falling with a parachute. The main effort in converting UD233A into DSS involved development of computational models for simulating the inflation of one or more parachute( s), the dynamics of the payload and the slings connecting the parachute( s) with the payload, and the extraction of the payload and parachutes from the aircraft.

Posted in: Software, Briefs

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Software for Alignment of Segments of a Telescope Mirror

The Segment Alignment Maintenance System (SAMS) software is designed to maintain the overall focus and figure of the large segmented primary mirror of the Hobby-Eberly Telescope. This software reads measurements made by sensors attached to the segments of the primary mirror and from these measurements computes optimal control values to send to actuators that move the mirror segments. The software also acts as a logger for the collected data, a server from which the hardware of the control computer can acquire control information and other computers can collect data, and a monitoring and diagnostic system. The software provides a graphical user interface through which human operators can exert control. The software supports four modes of operation: Operate — The server acquires the sensory data and processes them into commands for the actuators. Calibrate — Calibration tests are performed on the edge sensors and the relationships between actuator commands and sensor responses are quantified. Standby — The server is initialized in standby mode, from which it can make the transition to any of the other three modes. Diagnostic — This mode provides access to all sensory data in real time and is intended for use in diagnosis of sensor anomalies.

Posted in: Software, Briefs

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DAVE-ML Utility Programs

DAVEtools is a set of Java archives (*.jar files) that embodies tools for manipulating flight-dynamics models that have been encoded in dynamic aerospace vehicle exchange markup language (DAVE-ML). [DAVE-ML is an application program, written in Extensible Markup Language (XML), for encoding complete computational models of the dynamics of aircraft and spacecraft. The goal in the continuing development of DAVE-ML is to expedite the exchange and validation of dynamical models, via the Internet, in a manner that is consistent and is independent of computational-simulation facilities, computing languages, and simulation software.] At present, DAVEtools includes two tools: dave (a basic DAVE-ML parser), which generates a Java-based version of a model encoded in DAVE-ML and dave2sl, which builds on dave to create Simulink® representations of models encoded in DAVE-ML.

Posted in: Software, Briefs

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Satellite and Ground System Solutions at Your Fingertips

In the summer of 1998, the blockbuster action movie Armageddon captivated audiences with a thrilling doomsday plot about a meteor the size of Texas that was racing towards the Earth. Though the premise of the movie was purely fictional, the unfortunate reality is that near-Earth asteroids such as the one portrayed in the film do exist.

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Taking the Risk Out of Risk Assessment

The ability to understand risks and have the right strategies in place when risky events occur is essential in the workplace. More and more organizations are being confronted with concerns over how to measure their risks or what kind of risks they can take when certain events transpire that could have a negative impact.

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Robust Control for the Mercury Laser Altimeter

Mercury Laser Altimeter Science Algorithms is a software system for controlling the laser altimeter aboard the Messenger spacecraft, which is to enter into orbit about Mercury in 2011. The software will control the altimeter by dynamically modifying hardware inputs for gain, threshold, channel- disable flags, range- window start location, and range- window width, by using ranging information provided by the spacecraft and noise counts from instrument hardware. In addition, because of severe bandwidth restrictions, the software also selects returns for downlink. To reduce mission risk, the software incorporates three different modes of operation. The three modes are denoted as fixed, range-driven, and closedloop (or adaptive). The fixed mode provides fixed hardware inputs for all but the threshold. The range-driven mode receives and utilizes ranging information from the spacecraft regarding its slant range to the planet or asteroid. The adaptive mode is capable of improving upon the ranging information provided by the spacecraft by use of a closed-loop range-estimation algorithm. The software is sufficiently robust that it could be used on other missions, and in fact, this has already been proposed.

Posted in: Software, Briefs, TSP

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Nikon Small World Contest



Posted in: Blog

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